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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Lefkas

Lefkas holidays 2016/2017

One of the quietest Greek islands, holidays on Lefkas draw those in need of relaxation, as well as sailing and watersports enthusiasts. Handily, it's also joined to mainland Greece by a causeway. This wonderfully green island is full of olive groves, and its mountainous interior provides outstanding scenery. The hills roll down to lush valleys on the east coast and rise to sheer cliffs on the dramatic west.

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Easy to explore

The small island of Lefkas is just 35 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide. It is one of only two Greek islands that can be reached by road from the mainland, thanks to its bridge.

The main resorts along the east and south coasts range from tranquil to energetic in their approach to coastal living, but nowhere in Lefkas is ever boisterous. With most leisure activities sharing a focus on the sea, it may be that you join a sailing flotilla in Sivota or take up windsurfing in Vassiliki. Boat trips that whisk you off to some of the outstanding beaches that surround Lefkas are a great way to explore the area.

The island's centre is the capital, Lefkas Town, which is easily accessible from wherever you stay. So, whether you choose to stay in Nikiana for its secluded charm, or Nidri for lots to do day and night, you can hop around the island with ease by car, bus or boat.

Where to stay in Lefkas

Nikiana
NikianaView on Map

Peace is the aim on holidays to Nikiana, which has the best sandy beach in the east of Lefkas.

Your quiet getaway can be spent at the excellent waterfront restaurants and walking around the foothills of Mount Skaros, or you might like to journey to the neighbouring town of Nidri.

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Sivota
SivotaView on Map

A harbour village where sailing is the main activity, days in Sivota are utterly tranquil.

At night, as the yacht flotillas return, the bars buzz with activity, but it never gets too noisy.

Here, quayside tavernas tempt you with their fresh seafood, you can amble through the olive groves, or journey to nearby Vassiliki and Lefkas Town.

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Vassiliki
VassilikiView on Map

Lefkas' water sports hub, Vassiliki has Europe's finest windsurfing conditions in the large southern bay.

Paragliding and sailing are also popular.

The island's second largest town, Vassiliki has waterfront restaurants serving Greek treats as well as some fun bars for when the surf is done.

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Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthodox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • Approx 22,000
  • GMT +2

Coves and curves

There is a distinct east/west divide in terms of beaches on Lefkas. The east is full of charming sand and pebble coves, while the west coast is wilder. The twisting roads of the west hug the top of sheer cliffs that drop down to lengthy, beautifully pristine beaches.

The sandiest beach in the east is Nikiana, but this bay at the foothills of the Skaros Mountain is as laid-back as ever in summer. You won't find any water sports here – for that you should go to Vassiliki, which sits atop the large bay on the south of the island. One of the best places in Europe to windsurf, it also has sailing, kite-surfing and other watersports clubs all along the shingle beach.

On this part of the island you are tantalisingly close to one of Lefkas' best beaches. Just south of Vassiliki is the picturesque Agiofili beach, which lacks facilities but rewards you with a deep bay of amazingly clear water edged by white sand.

On the water

The warm blue waters of Lefkas invite you to jump in – whether it's taking a dip on the shore, manning the deck of a yacht or having your course steered for you on a guided boat trip to one of the island's natural attractions.

The resorts of Nidri and Sivota are known for their busy harbours. Nidri is one of Lefkas' most popular holiday spots, and big boats line up to take you to secluded beaches on the island of Meganisi or to see the Onassis family's island, Skorpios. Sailing is also big here, but if you prefer a quieter sailing holiday, use Sivota as your port. This peaceful village only gets busy in the evenings when sailors moor up and frequent the tavernas and the handful of bars.

Eat, drink and shop

Lefkas has maintained its Greek charm, even within the busier resorts, so you'll mainly get authentic Greek cooking in the eateries here. They serve bites of mezze, moussaka and seafood freshly hauled from the sea that day, along with lots of Ouzo and wines from Lefkas' vineyards.

Nightlife in Lefkas is quiet on the whole, with Greek music and dancing at village tavernas. You'll find lots of bars in Vassiliki where the windsurfers chill out or party after a day on the water. The most action can be found in Nidri and Lefkas Town, which has upbeat clubs and karaoke joints.

There are a smattering of shops in the main resorts across Lefkas, which usually have a row of souvenir sellers and mini-markets. Lefkas Town's main street is the place to go for more serious shopping among its boutiques and galleries. You might also like to spend a day in the modern town, checking out its interesting mix of old and new architecture at a leisurely pace.

Things to do in Lefkas

There are no theme parks or water parks in Lefkas, unless you count the giant watersports hotspot that is Vassiliki bay. Instead the main attractions are its beaches, walks through the countryside and visits to its handful of historic sites.

Rich with walking and cycling paths, you can hike up towards Mount Skaros from Nikiana, along the Ponti bay west of Vassiliki or to see ruins of an ancient town in the valley north of Vassiliki. Just inland from Nidri, wander for 40 minutes through greenery and you'll reach the Nidri falls, where a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water is encouraged.

You'll find intricate, hand-crafted Karia lace in many shops across Lefkas, or you can visit the village of Karia, 25 minutes from Nidri, to buy it direct from the ladies who make it. You might even get the chance to see them sitting outside creating it.

As you're just a bridge away from the mainland here, it's possible to be in Nicopolis inside an hour - the town that Caesar built in 31 BC.